iPad Symmetric Butterflies


Spring arrives this month. It’s time for a butterfly art project. This year our 6th graders created symmetric butterflies using iPads and the free app Sketchbook X. We are a 1:1 iPad school; students created a butterfly on their own iPad during a single 40 minute class.

We used two basic tools: the symmetric drawing feature and flood fill.


Background design

Students had the option of using a colorful background, or of filling the negative space with a design. I love how this student created a background design that echoes the wing design.

Flood Fill to Color Individual Sections


Notice how the lines are symmetric but the colors aren’t?


Love it!


Using Layers For Complex Designs

Finally, here is the butterfly from our most advanced student. This design incorporates the layer tool on Sketchbook X. I’m going to ask this student to guide the class through a layer tool lesson at our next iPad art session.

Use Shared ‘Turn in’ Folder on Google Drive to Collect Student Work

Our sixth graders use Google drive in their general Ed classrooms and are familiar with it. Here are the steps we used to turn in digital art:

1. I set up a ‘turn in art’ folder for each sixth grade class.
2. I shared it with each student in the class. To do this, I had to individually enter each student’s school email address. I walked around the class with my iPad and had each student type in their own address. This took less than a minute per student, and I did it while they worked.
3. The students saved their butterflies to their camera rolls.
4. The students opened google drive and uploaded their butterflies to the shared folder. They had to rename the photo with their first names.

Here’s what the turn in folder looked like at the end of class


Don’t be Afraid

Check out Sketchbook X tutorials on YouTube. Ask students for help ahead of time – I did! My students are ‘digital natives’ – they mastered the whole process better than I did. In fact, our school has a ‘genius bar’ staffed by tech savvy sixth graders.

Here is a basic Sketchbook X tutorial for the art room from Tricia Fuglestad.


Fun Photo Illustrations Inspired by Javier Perez

sixth grade cinta scotch pin #3

Our sixth graders just finished a quick, highly engaging photography/drawing project.

This project was inspired by the work of Ecuadorian artist/art director Javier Perez , also known by the nickname ‘Cinta Scotch’. He uses found objects plus ink to create simple, witty illustrations which he shares with his followers on social media.

I gave each table copy paper, sharpies, and a bin containing a bunch of random objects (office supplies, pasta, some kitchen tools, corks and other odds and ends). They created these artworks, and photographed them with iPads. Each kid was able to create at least two during a single 40-minute class.

You can see Javier Perez’ body of work on Instagram or on his Facebook page. 

sixth grade cinta scotch pin #1


sixth grade cinta scotch pin #2


sixth grade cinta scotch pin #7 sixth grade cinta scotch pin #6 sixth grade cinta scotch pin #5 sixth grade cinta scotch pin #4

After our sixth graders completed the project, I shared these photos with Mr. Perez via Facebook. He was pleased with the student work. Cool!


iPad Love Stamps

iPad Love Stamp

In honor of Valentine’s Day, our fourth graders created iPad LOVE stamps using the free Face on Stamp Booth app.

What are Love Stamps?

For 40 years, the U.S.Postal Service LOVE stamp series has featured a wide range of subjects, including flowers, Victorian lace, cherubs, swans, candy hearts, and abstract designs. I showed our students the U.S. Postal Service love stamp slide show. Then I told them we would be creating our own LOVE stamps!

The U.S. Postal Service issues an annual Love Stamp. The program began in 1973.

The U.S. Postal Service issues an annual Love Stamp. The program began in 1973.

Step 1: Create heart art

Fourth graders used oil pastels to create these hearts.

Fourth graders used oil pastels to create these hearts.

We started with a fine art project. We used oil pastels to create these hearts.  Instructions in my free Jim Dine heart art Keynote. This step took two 40-minute sessions.

Step 2: Use iPads and Face on Stamp app

After the students finished their heart drawings, they photographed their art using the Face on Stamp Booth app. Next they added text. I encouraged students to add text found on real postage stamps, such as USA, Forever, Love, date, and stamp price. A lot of kids added their favorite activities (soccer, archery, golf, cheer, basketball etc.) Click here to see even more iPad Love Stamps in our Artsonia gallery.

Step 3: Create a collage (‘sheet of stamps’)

After completing their iPad love stamps, students emailed them to me. I created a grid of the photos using my computer and the free Pic Monkey collage maker. You could also use an iPad and the free Pic Collage app.

Students uses fine art, free Face on Stamp Booth app plus iPads to create individual 'Love Stamps'.

Students uses fine art, free Face on Stamp Booth app plus iPads to create individual ‘Love Stamps’.

End result: wow! Students were very pleased both with their heart art and with their iPad love stamps.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


  Do you have a favorite art project for Valentine’s Day project?

Type Drawing App for iPad

Student art. Look carefully - each line is composed of text.

If you are looking for a creative way to integrate art and text, consider the iPad app Type Drawing. I learned how to use this app in just a few minutes at the iPad workshop at the CAEA Southern Area conference.

I started out by finding an image of a Garibaldi fish on Google.  I saved it to my iPad camera roll. Next I opened the Type Drawing app and opened the fish photo. To create an image, I selected text (I chose ‘fin’, ‘gill’,  ‘tail’ etc.) and traced my finger on the screen. Look carefully – all the lines are composed of words!

type drawing app 1

I matched the text colors to the fish using the eyedropper tool. I played around with the background color too.

Here is a piece of middle school artwork shared by our instructor, art teacher Lyn Gardner.

Larkspur (flower) created on an iPad with Type Drawing App

Type Drawing flower by Kylie C., created when she was an 8th grade student at Valley Christian Middle School.

Want to see even more Type Drawing artworks? Look at these beautiful illustrations from Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

Gardens by the Bay art from Singapore

Beautiful Type Drawing art from Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Type Drawing is not a free app, but it is a nice, easy to use typographic art tool.

Thanks to our instructor, art teacher Lyn Gardner, for presenting Type Drawing at the California Art Education Association Southern Area Conference in Idyllwild.


(note: photo credit updated 11/8/2013)

Read the ‘Pigeon’ Books Online (for Free!)

read the 'pigeon' books online for free

Do you have Mo Willem’s ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!? Maybe you have the book, maybe you don’t.

Guess what? I did a little searching and found ALL  of Mo Willem’s ‘pigeon’ books read online.

Here is a my resource mix for the project, organized in this nifty Symbaloo grid. Click on any tile to read the books. There’s even a bonus ‘how to draw the pigeon’ guide.

Isn’t technology cool?

Click here to see my pigeon project for first grade.


p.s. These are not a substitute for a cozy bedtime story! Go get the books for bedtime 🙂

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